Like hell

Francis W. Porretto contemplates the distance from right this minute to the end of time:

We have been told very little authoritatively about Heaven, but its nature surely includes release from bondage to Time. Nothing else would be consistent with a state of eternal bliss. Indeed, an immortal sentenced to temporal eternity would find it to be the most extreme imaginable torment. Time is the medium of desire, effort, fulfillment, failure, and mortality; to compel an immortal, unalterable creature to endure it would utterly destroy any delight he might be offered within its folds.

At the very least, said creature might well be bored out of his skull. Several MLP:FiM fanfics have envisioned Celestia, having outlived everypony in Equestria other than her sister, trying to conjure up a way to bring on her own death and get it over with already; canon does not state that the diarchs are in fact immortal, but they do seem to hang around for an awfully long time. (When the series opens, said sister has been banished for the past thousand years, which more than meets my definition of “awfully long time.”)

And I find myself asking: does it become easier to accept the eventual end of your temporal existence when you know it can’t be far away? Should I be able to deal with it better at 61 than I was at 21? Because so far, I’m not.

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My little taggers

Did you see any graffiti in Ponyville? In Canterlot? In Manehattan, for Luna’s sake? So why would you want to see it in Butte, Montana?

Someone tagged a Butte neighborhood with not only the names but the words “My Little Pony.”

It’s unknown at this time if it’s a gang of tweens or a group of “Bronies,” adult men who love the cartoon and toys.

Given the vast quantity of hatred for bronies out there, I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that this was the work of self-described brony enemies, trying to embarrass (or worse) the local pony fans.

Police received reports starting Saturday morning of the cartoon names scrawled on a vehicle, fences and garage doors. The majority of graffiti was found on Keokuk and Hancock streets. About six sites were hit.

The monetary damage will depend if the black and white spray paint washes off, police said.

Well, there you go. A genuine fan of My Little Pony would have come up with show-accurate colors for each and every mention.

(Michelle Malkin saw this before I did.)

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On the edge of the Everdead Forest

All eyes are turned to Dallas, no thanks to some schmuck who’s been incubating Ebola, and Nightmare Nights, a My Little Pony convention coming up in the area, answers the question “Would it kill you to attend?”:

The patient was been placed in isolation — separate medical staff, separate water supply, and in-room destruction of all materials — at a hospital just over 30 miles from our convention venue, and remains there today. “Dallas” is a metropolitan area encompassing 9,286 square miles. It’s bigger than Rhode Island and Connecticut combined. Trust us, we are well away from this hospital.

The venue is actually in the town of Addison, at the far north end of Dallas County.

Further reassurance:

We are not altering our plans for Nightmare Nights. Nor has school been cancelled, nor has public transit been altered, nor have any area concerts or sporting events been rescheduled. We know news organizations like to get your attention by talking about epidemics — remember when SARS, bird flu, or swine flu were going to bring the country to a standstill? — but everything here is pretty much normal.

And sneaked into the bottom:

TL;DR: There is no Ebola “outbreak.” However, as the patient reported symptoms on September 26th, we will note that Nightmare Nights is exactly 28 Days Later.

Well played, gang.

(Via EqD. Warning: Picture of Ebola Pony.)

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Mean Equestria girls

When the first Equestria Girls feature arrived last year, I noted that “I’ve already seen Mean Girls.” Nothing in that frothy little film, however, prepares you for the blackened hearts and overwrought costumes of the Dazzlings, whose origin is not from around Canterlot High, but from an Equestrian adaptation of Greek mythology, and whose song can turn anyone’s soul to the Dark Side.

Inasmuch as they didn’t have to spend half the running time explaining things, Rainbow Rocks is a far better film than its predecessor, and while there is the usual wagonload of sight gags and unexpected cameos and fanservice, there’s a nicely unfolded plot (so to speak) paced with precision, and packed with more (and better!) songs. But the best thing here, I think, is the redemption of Sunset Shimmer, once a villain, still working on being accepted as a friend; Sunset is the one character in the humanized-pony universe that is proving to have staying power. (Flash Sentry, maybe not so much.) If they’re going to keep turning out EqG stories at this level and on this budget — apparently Rainbow Rocks was distributed on Blu-ray disk — Hasbro and DHX will have pulled off a remarkable double play with a single set of characters.

We got only the one showing in town; it sold out some time before last night. (I’d ordered an online ticket on Wednesday.) About 10 percent of the crowd was doing some level of cosplay. And everyone duly hung around through all the credits, as they should have. There is, of course, a hashtag: #Ready2RainbowRock.

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Filling in the blanks

While I’m Clark Kenting around here doing the bloggy stuff, my (not all that) secret identity is churning out pony stories. (They’re on the sidebar, in case you’d somehow missed them.) Turns out, there is historical — and religious — precedent for this sort of thing.

(A tip of the tiara to Fillyjonk, who sent me this idea four days ago and probably wondered if I was going to do anything with it.)

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A bargain nearly Faustian

Lauren Faust, among my personal heroines — it’s that whole My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic thing — tells the story of how she got from shy-ish kid to animator at Sony Pictures, and while her CV is packed with all sorts of stuff, pony-related and otherwise, this is perhaps the most pertinent quote:

I started developing cartoons and series for girls. I would pitch shows to executives at different studios, and people would really like the stories and really like the characters, but then tell me, “We don’t want shows for girls.” They were attributing the poor performance of these shows to the gender of the target audience instead of to the quality of the shows. It was like banging my head against the wall; I just couldn’t get through.

Faust says she basically aimed MLP:FiM at her inner eight-year-old girl, which may explain why it was so well received by yours truly, inhabited by an inner nine-year-old girl. Her current project at Sony is the retelling of the tale of Medusa.

(Via Cartoon Brew.)

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The Element of Pasta

The British have long feasted on things like stodge and spotted dick, so I figure Pinkie Pie is a step in the right direction:

You should probably keep cans of this stuff all over town, in case of food emergency.

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Let the stars of Twilight thereof be dark

It has never been any particular secret that you can sing “Amazing Grace” over the theme from Gilligan’s Island. (Or, for that matter, the other way around.) As the phrase goes, four chords, no waiting.

Presumably, though, a line must be drawn somewhere:

In February, I asked if anyone else was uncomfortable with Dan Schutte’s Mass of Christ the Savior (2010) — which appears to be written in a secular style.

Some other Dan should be mentioned: Daniel Ingram, who’s responsible for the theme song to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, which a passage in Schutte’s Mass resembles more than slightly.

No, seriously. Listen for yourself.

We have to assume that this was unintentional. Still, it clearly has the power to unsettle.

(Roger Green sent me this. The title is from Job 3:9.)

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If only I knew

Usually I can snap off an answer to these Yahoo! questioners in nothing flat. This one left me baffled:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: What is Twilight Sparkle's cell phone number?

I mean, I figure she’d have enough trouble with a landline.

But no, there’s a reason for this:

you know how you can call a phone number and it will be an automated message? I wanted to call the number for my little sister cause she loves My Little Pony, its not half bad actually, so if anyone knows anything, please answer, thanks in advanced.

This I hadn’t heard. And all this time I’d believed her policy was “don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

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Making a dew point

Osaka Jack, as his name implies, lives in Japan, but in a part of it with ridiculous humidity levels not unlike what we’re having to endure this week on the Baked Plain. So this My Little Pony fiction idea gets my vote:

Which was apparently a reaction to this:

The only worry is that it might take longer than 22 minutes to clear this mess up.

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Still mounting up

April ’14, the White House:

President Barack Obama said the government will expand job-training and apprenticeship programs with a $600 million effort to equip workers with the skills sought by employers.

June ’14, Pawtucket:

The MY LITTLE PONY franchise remains a cherished brand worldwide by fans of all ages. Behind a successful global entertainment, licensing and retail strategy which re-launched the brand in 2010, MY LITTLE PONY has grown to represent approximately $650 million dollars at retail across all consumer products in 2013.

Not that I have a problem with spending more money on pony than on job training, mind you.

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Dialed in to ponies

We have here a Mazda MX-5 with the Mane Six gauge package:

Custom My Little Pony gauges for Mazda Miata

With thanks to the fandom:

The MLP fandom is awesome. Artwork exists for just about anything you can imagine. Cutie marks for the main characters? How many different file formats would you like? Exact color codes for every aspect of anything ever in the show? Yup, those are plentiful too. The fans really made this custom gauge design come together quick.

Apart from “WANT,” all I can say is “You should see these at night.”

And no, I don’t know where you could work in an Applejack reference. The Malfunction Indicator Light, maybe? “Sugarcube, Ah don’t know just how to tell ya this, but yer emissions are worse than Big Mac after a bucket of broccoli.” Eeyup.

(Via this @LazyGrayBrony tweet.)

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If I’m lying, I’m petrifying

Sony Pictures Animation has bought a project based on your favorite snake-haired female:

Antz writer Todd Alcott and producer Holly Golden sold the studio with a comedy pitch about a beautiful, young girl who transforms into Medusa, a gorgon whose gaze turns people to stone.

“I love the originality of it, the comedy take on Medusa,” Michelle Raimo-Kouyate, president of production at Sony Animation, told TheWrap. “The minute I heard it, it felt ingenious and clever and funny.”

The director attached to the project is Lauren Faust, developer of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, which suggests a decidedly different spin on the old story:

Faust told TheWrap the movie will portray Medusa as a decent girl who irks the wrong goddess. After turning into a monster, she learns to embrace what makes her different.

This surely will bring all the boys to her yard: who hasn’t irked the wrong goddess at one time or another?

And in MLP:FiM, come to think of it, turning individuals to stone is routine: cockatrices roam the Everfree, and Discord used to spend his odd (and even) hours as an item of statuary in Celestia’s garden.

(Via The Mary Sue.)

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Too much reality

DC Comics, on its covers anyway, happily promoted the war effort after Pearl Harbor; but as Francis W. Porretto reports, they drew the line at actually having Superman siding with the Allies:

A significant number of readers demanded to know why Superman didn’t participate in the war — on the side of the Allies, of course; the editors of DC Comics replied that their superhero believed the Allies could and should win the war through their own efforts, and that he could do better service to “truth, justice, and the American way” on the home front.

How they did this was exquisite:

DC needed a plausible plot device to allow Superman, and Clark Kent, to be outside of the draft and remain in Metropolis and not enter World War II, as most men were doing. In an interesting story, Clark Kent was drafted but failed his induction eye-exam, and was declared 4-F (undraftable) when he accidentally used his x-ray vision and read the eye chart in the next room. With this “error”, Kent and Superman were free to work “from the outside” to affect the war.

And it’s just as well. FWP again:

It gave me a chuckle even back then. A comic-book character is supposed to participate in a real-world war? Suppose the war didn’t eventuate as the comics would have it? What would that have done to the franchise? C’mon, boys and girls: this is just cheap, colorful, escapist entertainment!

Believe me, I know the perils of writing too much reality, to the extent that “reality” is definable in the My Little Pony universe, into such a matter: those of us who have toiled over real-time Twilight Sparkle stories were thrown for a cosmic loop at the end of the third season, when Twi, having resolved an Ancient Mystery, is unexpectedly promoted to royalty, and we were essentially given the option of adjusting our narratives accordingly or declaring the Alternate Universe tag in play. I chose the former, and it has complicated my life, or at least my story, immensely.

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I want my books back, you son of a centaur

One of the scarier sights in “Twilight’s Kingdom,” the fourth-season finale of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, is the destruction of the Golden Oak Library in Ponyville. I remember saying, “Oh, Tirek, now you’ve made her angry. You won’t like her when she’s angry.”

There is, of course, a better line:

My name is Twilight Sparkle.  You killed my books.  Prepare to die.

Then again, she was never in the revenge business.

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Let’s all go to the Laissez Faire!

Not that Equestria is some sort of free-market utopia or anything, but this line jumped out of yesterday’s episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Take it away, Princess Twilight Sparkle:

[A]ll I’m supposed to do is settle disagreements over whether a trade is fair or not. And since the rule is that a trade is fair as long as both ponies get what they want, there’s never been a disagreement. So there’s really no reason for anypony to treat me as anything special.

“By virtue of exchange, one man’s prosperity is beneficial to all others.” — Frédéric Bastiat, The Law, 1850.

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Bon^2

In the foreground here is the pony commonly known as Bon Bon. The fans gave her that name, based on her cutie mark, but Hasbro prefers that you refer to her as Sweetie Drops:

MLP screenshot featuring Bon Bon

Viktor & Rolf, who in 2006 gave us a fragrance called “Flowerbomb,” have just introduced this:

New ad for Bonbon by Viktor & Rolf

Now obviously this concept predates both V&R and MLP:FiM; still, you should have seen the spit take I did when I found that advertisement on the back cover of Vanity Fair.

And now I need to write up a background pony and call her Flowerbomb. Because silly.

Addendum: Maybe we can talk this model into some of that Twilight Sparkle eyeliner.

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Varying degrees of niceness

I suppose I should have expected to see this banner ad this spring, though I have to admit I didn’t expect to see it at Equestria Daily:

Stuart Weitzman banner ad

Then again, some of those mares have, um, really nice legs. Four at a time, even.

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Checking in with the herd

The 2014 State of the Herd Report is out, and this year’s pony fans are marginally more female, a teensy bit more married (though 4.7 percent won’t overwhelm the Los Pegasus wedding chapels), and just about as likely to pester friends and neighbors to watch the darn show already.

A few not-entirely-random quotes from the report:

Utah has the most Bronies per 100,000 … followed closely by Alaska. Mississippi, once again, is dead last in per capita Bronyism.

Utah checks in with 9.03 per 100k; Mississippi, 1.87. (Oklahoma, should you be curious, is mid-pack at 4.47.)

There’s a very distinct gender break on the Pegasister question. While 60% of males basically “meh” at the question ["Women should be pegasisters," as distinguished from bronies], 47% of females either disagree or strongly disagree, with only 14% agreeing or strongly agreeing.

A desire not to be segregated? Fancy that.

On the question of Favorite Character, it takes seven slots to include the Mane Six, since Princess Luna has vaulted all the way to third. (Derpy is eighth.) And this is a trifle alarming:

As you look through the list, stop to consider that Tom, a piece of rock, drew more votes than Flim, Flam, and either Mr. or Mrs. Cake.

And the data-collection period ended long before we met Pinkie Pie’s sister Maud, so I see Tom, if only as a possible ship for Maud, gaining popularity in the near future. Also, Flam outdrew Flim, which makes me wonder if people can really tell them apart.

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The community comes forward

He was eleven, a fairly typical kid for his age, with one exception that comes to mind: he was a fan of My Little Pony, and he wasn’t going to change that for anypony.

Then came the rage, the bullying, the anger. At eleven, you wonder why, and maybe you think it’s your fault. And you get out the rope.

It didn’t kill Michael Morones, but it came too close for comfort. Pony fans put together a short fundraiser to help cover the kid’s medical expenses; it raised five grand in something like ten hours. The donations kept coming in. The goal was raised to $10,000, then to $20,000. As of last night over $33,000 had been donated.

This quote from the fund site seems pertinent:

I read about Michael the other day at the everfree network and have seen news about him daily. When I saw the photo of him in the hospital bed with all the tubes I couldn’t help but shed a tear for the poor kid. I myself was bullied in high school and teased all my school life. Early on I was teased and shunned for being poor. But then when I was 10 years old I was severely burned in an explosion. High school was a very difficult time for me. My sophomore year I was basically physically assaulted leaving science class and to make things worse the school administration turned a blind eye. I was targeted for being different because of my scars and appearance. I’ve grown since then and I still have a philosophy in life. Enjoy your life and be grateful for what you have. Don’t feel pressure to be like everyone else. I enjoy the things and act how I want to as long as it’s not hurting anybody. MLP is just another positive message in a world where kids need more hope, magic, and friendship, in their lives. Bullying should never ever be accepted and Michael nor anyone else should have to hide what they like or who they are simply because others don’t understand. We are all different yet the same.

“How dare you like what I don’t like!” is not, and will never be, a viable philosophy, its echoes in far-off lands like the District of Columbia notwithstanding.

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